Featured FAQ: What is a Funeral Celebrant?

February 1, 2016

A Funeral Celebrant is a trained and certified non-clergy professional who officiates at funerals, helping families without a particular church affiliation, to create a personal and meaningful ceremony. After meeting with family and friends, the Celebrant helps express the life story of the individual who has departed through a unique service that celebrates life.

You Have Choices

31019850_mlWhen choosing an officiant for a loved one’s funeral, many families are not aware that they have choices available. At Keohane Funeral Home, we not only offer Celebrant services, we have certified Funeral Celebrants on our staff to serve our families in the way that is most meaningful for them. A Celebration of Life service offers an alternative to a service officiated by clergy, especially for those families who are not affiliated with a church, do not wish to have a traditional religious service, or do not want to hold services in a church setting. These services fulfill the same purpose as any funeral – to celebrate the individual life and provide comfort to loved ones.

“No two services are the same – they are specific to that individual, their personal lives, their individual lives, because the reality is that no two people are the same. Everyone’s life journey is different from somebody else’s journey so therefore the funeral service reflects that – it reflects who that person was,” said Certified Funeral Celebrant Joseph Moya.

While Celebrants often fulfill the role of clergy in a funeral service, they are not affiliated with any particular religion and can include as much or as little religious content or ritual as the family wishes – the choice is in the hands of the family. Celebrants work with family members to create a service intended to be a uniquely personalized, deep and loving remembrance of their loved one. This tribute exemplifies the spirit, uniqueness and significance of the life of the loved one. Above all, a Life Celebration service reflects the wishes of the deceased and the family. The Life Celebrant’s task is to create a ceremony that reflects the wishes, beliefs, values and culture – whether religious or non-religious – of both the loved one and the entire family.

Life Stories

A Celebrant is a facilitator who is able to take the time to sit down and listen to the needs of loved ones in order to fully honor the individual who has passed. During the meeting with family and friends, often in the comfort of their own homes, the Celebrant collects stories and memories in order to express the life story of the individual who has departed. The Celebrant then designs and conducts personalized funeral services that celebrate the life of the loved one through a unique tribute. Many personalized elements can be included, such as personal stories; favorite music; video tributes; photos or memory boards; poems and readings; as well as prayers and rituals.

“There are two purposes to a Life Celebration; one is to celebrate the person who died but the other is to help loved ones as they begin the process of grief. What is most helpful for so many people is to take the time to tell the stories of the person’s life; not so much listing the accomplishments of the person – those will be weaved into it – but it’s mostly about the lasting effect this person had on the people who loved him or her; what will live on in memory,” said Mary Gallagher, Certified Funeral Celebrant.

To learn more about Life Celebrant services or to make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable funeral directors, please contact us at any of our locations or call our main office at 1-800-Keohane (800-536-4263).

Photo credit: Cathy Yeulet/


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